As more information comes in on Benghazi …
DOD News Briefing with Secretary Panetta and Gen. Dempsey from the Pentagon (October 25, 2012)
Q: Can I follow up on that? One of the reasons we've heard that there wasn't a more robust response right away is that there wasn't a clear intelligence picture over Benghazi, to give you the idea of where to put what forces.
But when there was, in fact, a drone over the CIA annex and there were intelligence officials fighting inside the annex, I guess the big question is, with those two combined assets, why there wasn't a clear intelligence picture that would have given you what you needed to make some moves, for instance, flying, you know, F-16s over the area to disperse fighters or -- or dropping more special forces in.
SEC. PANETTA: You know, let me -- let me speak to that, because I'm sure there's going to be -- there's a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on here.
We -- we quickly responded, as General Dempsey said, in terms of deploying forces to the region. We had FAST platoons in the region. We had ships that we had deployed off of Libya. And we were prepared to respond to any contingency and certainly had forces in place to do that.
But -- but the basic principle here -- basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place. And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, General Ham, General Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.
Q: So the drone, then, and the forces inside the annex weren't giving enough of a clear picture is what you're saying.
SEC. PANETTA: This -- this happened within a few hours and it was really over before, you know, we had the opportunity to really know what was happening.
There is no such basic principle! Several news agencies, primarily Fox News, has been covering the story and reveals that “options were available.” Among these options was a prepositioned CIF force … and we now know that there was Predator drone on-scene. Every day police officers respond to “shots fired” with little or no information other than an approximate location – and they respond. This is often known as “go to the sound of the guns.” In the absence of orders, go to the sound of the guns – widely known to American military personnel. There is also a standing order to save lives.
Combatant Commanders In-extremis Force (CIF) Company. The CIF is a specially-trained and resourced element that is focused on Direct Action (DA) / Counter Terrorism (CT) missions. This role includes both training foreign tactical units in DA / CT techniques and carrying out DA / CT operations themselves, often with partner nation forces.
CIF is available to all theatre commanders – to move with little or no advance information and to resolve ongoing situations. They are super-special operators and their exploits are not publicized.
So what is happening?
It appears that Leon Panetta, who served in Army Intelligence and is a lawyer, may have been following White House orders not to respond – and then participate in explaining the unexplainable.
By the way, for those who suggested that the former Navy Seals violated “orders” when they responded to requests for assistance, they were no longer in the service and under “orders.” They may have violated CIA protocols or practices, but they certainly did not violate orders.
Bottom line …
There was real-time intelligence, standby forces in the neighborhood and those in the White House sat on their assets and did nothing,
Leon Panetta and the generals need to resign or explain that they were under orders coming from the White House. And if certain civilians like Valerie Jarrett were present or advising the President on political concerns while our Ambassador and others were dying.
Also where are the wounded people? With four dead – there must be some wounded somewhere? And perhaps this is the reason that the democrats trying to suppress the military vote – they know how pissed off commanders are when the politicos suggest that they did not rise to the occasion to save American lives.